University of Kentucky will buy St. Claire Hospital in Morehead

The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees voted Friday to approve plans to acquire St. Claire HealthCare in Morehead. The targeted date for UK’s takeover is July 1.

The move will expand clinical and academic programs and provide more access to high-quality patient care for more Kentuckians, UK said in a news release.

“UK is committed to growing clinical services in the Morehead area as well as expanding programs in many clinical areas to grow the future health care workforce for Kentucky,” President Eli Capilouto said in the release.

St. Claire is one of the largest employers in the Morehead region, with more than 1,300 employees, including over 50 physicians and nearly 50 advanced-practice professionals in more than 20 medical specialties.

St. Claire has partnered with UK on a number of academic and clinical programs since the 1960s, co-developing the Rural Physician Leadership Program along with Morehead State University and establishing a training and residency site for UK’s colleges of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health Sciences. It is also home to the College of Health Sciences’s Physician Assistant Program.

St. Claire President and CEO Donald H. Lloyd II, who will remain in that position, said in the release that “UK identified as the natural partner that could carry forward the previous work and ongoing investment while growing the health-care workforce.”

He added, “In an ever-changing health care landscape, both St. Claire and UK are deeply committed to accessible and high-quality patient care and strategic collaborations that will enhance services to benefit Kentuckians throughout northeastern Kentucky for many decades to come.”

According to the release, St. Claire HealthCare includes a hospital with 139 licensed beds and seven primary-care clinics in five counties, a multi-specialty medical pavilion, two urgent-care centers, a pediatrics clinic, a retail pharmacy, a counseling center, an outpatient center and a medical equipment and supply store. St. Claire also provides home health and hospice services in eight counties.

This is UK’s second major foray into hospital care in northeastern Kentucky in recent years. In 2021, the university created a joint venture with King’s Daughters Memorial Hospital in Ashland in which UK holds the assets and manages the hospital system.

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